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Every organization hires its workers carefully in order to be more competitive in the marketplace. Yet optimizing the environment or technology to foster more creativity remains one area where there is still a lot of guesswork being done.
Part of the reason for the lack of a patented method of increasing effective creativity is that the dynamic among companies in different industries and among employees in different roles does not always lend itself to a one-size-fits-all solution.
Just the same, there are plenty of examples of portable methods that firms are using to try and encourage workers to be more creative. Here are some of the ways that it is possible to leverage technology to encourage more creativity in the workplace:
Become more efficient:
Time is a luxury that many workers don't have. Yet in industries like software, engineers normally have as much as 30 percent of their day unscheduled because their work requires them to be creative- and such creativity is not always encouraged by putting people on a task clock. Google used to give employees 10 percent of their day to contemplate ways that they could build products that would make the company more competitive. And while they had mixed results, they certainly gained more than they might have if they didn't try it.
Outside of technology, manufacturing firms can also use technology to free up time so that workers can have more time to think about building better processes. Using checkweighers, or machines that ensure that product sizes and weights are uniform on the production line can not only enhance your quality results, it will also save time that you can give to employees so that they can plan better and execute better.
Leverage your office environment:
If you think about it, where would you rather take your team for a creative meeting: a Starbuck's or a Dairy Queen? Chances are you would choose the Starbucks because they have spent a lot of time trying to build an environment that spawns thought and conversation. If you apply that to your own office space, the latest in smart building systems and building layout design include technology and design precepts that encourage whatever environment that you would like to create. One good example is that many companies that want to see more collaborative effort from their teams have changed the layout of their offices so that technology and refreshments are available in common areas, which are now open and comfortable so that employees can mingle and talk about work-related endeavors.
Encourage deep thought:
In every office, there are times during the day where tight schedules create the need for multi-tasking. Some studies have shown that multi-tasking is not the best way to get productivity out of a worker, let alone creativity. It can increase their functional capabilities, but you may lose in other areas. So although it may be difficult to avoid that type of situation, breaking the work day into manageable chunks in terms of schedule for workers that you rely upon so that they only are exposed to that environment for part of the day will keep them fresh and foster more creative activity.
Distractions are another reason that people are not able to spend time getting their minds around a better way to do things. Using technology like the latest earbuds to give workers a virtual barrier between themselves and a noisy environment can allow music or whatever they enjoy to create a better environment for them. It’s also a sure way to meet your marketing objectives or concerns. In a similar vein, giving employees space and time to browse the internet without questioning what they are looking at is one certain way to spark creativity. It may sound strange because they won't always seem to be on task, but some cultures like Symantec, where one popular notion is to work in spurts, are actually based upon research that shows that productivity and creativity go up when a worker takes a short break in between complex tasks.
Introducing technology in the workspace to foster creativity isn't an exact science. But by learning what is going on that is successful in other places, it can help you to port some potential best practices into your own firm.
About the Author:
Greg Dastrup is a world traveler and professional writer with a passion for learning new languages. He’s spent most of his career consulting for businesses in North America.